Friday, November 01, 2013

Roma Set Record, Cardiff City v Swansea City, Arsenal v Liverpool, Podcast, MLS, Derbi Barceloní

The end of the week has arrived. And with it, November. We're going to need a podcast to handle all that weight. This is what's on tap: On today's Football Weekly Extra, we're Capital One Cup crazy. Well, not quite crazy, but certainly captivated. Anyway, AC Jimbo's joined once more by Barry Glendenning and the dulcet twin tones of Amy Lawrence and Simon Burnton as they look back on the all the midweek League Cup action. We start with Arsenal, whose trophyless run is no nearer to coming to an end after they were beaten by Chelsea. It doesn't get any easier for the Gunners, with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund to visit in the next few days (albeit not at the same time; that wouldn't be fair). Can Arsène Wenger get his young side back on track? There was happier news on the other side of North London after Tottenham saw off tigerish Hull for the second time in three days, even if it did take them a penalty shoot out to get the victory. How far can AVB's lot go in the competition? Next, we hear from Sid Lowe about Gareth Bale's role in Real Madrid's ridiculous 7-3 victory over Sevilla before turning our attention to the big games in the Premier League this weekend, not least the South Wales derby.

Now that that's sorted, we can move on. Where? To Gareth Bale, of course. He's now under fire for an "attempted dive." Hmmmm.

There were matches in La Liga yesterday, most notably involving Atletico Madrid and their attempt to maintain the pressure on league leaders Barcelona. They succeeded thanks to penalties from stars Diego Costa and David Villa. They are now a point behind Barca and five ahead of city rivals Real. Barcelona are in action this afternoon (4pm EDT on beIN Sport USA) against their city rivals Espanyol.

There was a match in Serie A yesterday featuring the table toppers known as AS Roma. They defeated Chievo 1-0 to extend their lead to five points and become the first team in the history of Serie A to begin the season with 10 wins on the trot.

Is Daffyd a Swansea supporter or a Cardiff man...?
There was a match in Major League Soccer yesterday. It was an Eastern Conference knockout round game featuring Houston and Montreal. Houston won with ease. Looking ahead to the playoffs, Sport Illustrated asked their scribes to provide some thoughts and predictions. They did just that.

Right. On to things that have yet to occur. In the BPL, there are two biggies that stick out from the menu. Arsenal vs. Liverpool (1:30pm EDT on NBC) certainly attracts while Wales gets crazy with Cardiff vs. Swansea on Sunday. Elsewhere, there are some solid matchups as Tottenham go to Everton, Chelsea head up to Newcastle, and West Ham host Villa. Here's your lot:

Liverpool's John Barnes

Speaking of Liverpool, The Big Interview is John Barnes. He thinks Liverpool's Suárez-Sturridge attack is as good as '88. Well, then

We've more to discuss. We mentioned above that Barcelona and Espanyol clash this afternoon. Here's a gander at the complete La Liga weekend slate. We mentioned above that Roma was setting records in Italy. Here's a gander at the complete Serie A weekend slate which includes Parma/Juventus, Milan/Fiorentina, and Udinese/Inter.

We'll conclude the week on a high note (cough) with a look at Ronaldo's new line of underwear. His tweet was quite funny last week, and he's now unveiled his CR7 line. Oh, dear...


No comment.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bale Breaks Duck, League Cup, Golden Balls in Miami

Whoa Nellie! Let's start in Spain where the midweek action provided quite the fun. Gareth Bale got off the mark with two goals (yes, he did the stupid "heart" thing with his hands), Ronny had three, and Real Madrid whupped Sevilla 7-3. Don't you know Sid Lowe was there and had this to say. Not pleased with just a match report, El Sid also filed a complete roundup. Tite!

There was action in Serie A, too. Napoli won at Fiorentina to cut the gap at the top to two (Roma in action tonight) and Milan and Lazio drew at the San Siro. Here's a recap of the Wednesday action.
All set to support Beckham FC

Stateside we've got a few issues to tackle. David Beckham made a move down in Miami. Golden Balls is going to set up an MLS team and he wants to do it in the Sunshine State. And he wants Brooklyn to play for his team.

Elsewhere in MLS, the playoffs are set after Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson led Seattle to a wildcard win over Colorado. Their next opponent? Portland. Look out! Lattes and espresso for the first 10,000 fans.

In League Cup action in England, Elderly Yank Abroad Brad Friedel went from villain to hero as Tottenham ousted Hull City on penalties. In the evening's other match, Manchester City needed extra time to see off Newcastle.

Here's your draw for the Quarterfinal Round:
Leicester v Manchester City
Stoke v Manchester United
Sunderland/Southampton v Chelsea
Tottenham v West Ham

Speaking of Spurs, they're planning a new stadium. And some of their neighbors aren't terribly pleased with the plans.

From Tottenham to Arsenal, now, and Dennis Bergkamp has a book out. Tom Sweetman quite likes it, apparently. Read.

Have at it.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gas Leak At SSN Headquarters = Day Off

Luckily, there were only a few of us in the office when we were forced to vacate. Buonjourno is still in Europe (Chelsea beat Arsenal), Davide is still on assignment in Argentina (brawl), Luca remains in Africa researching for his upcoming book on that continent's football, and Erica is either in Sweden or Norway preparing to post on the ultra culture up there. More tomorrow. -Ed.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

FIFA Madness, What's In Your Wallet? Cup, Scribes, Petit

We'll begin this Tuesday with FIFA. The idiots running the asylum want more teams involved in the World Cup. More teams = more cash. More teams = shittier matches. More teams = more power for the powerful. Assholes. Enough of that nonsense.

Might Zaha actually start?!
Karbassiyoon, Larsson, Cygan...
We hope you enjoyed the match report from Signor Buonjourno. Headquarters is terribly quiet without him but it would appear he's having fun across the pond.

We've got the League Cup today and there is a good one as Chelsea head across London to face Arsenal. Mourinho threatened to play his youth side but recanted and we all know the League Cup is where Arsène Wenger tests young Gunners' mettle under fire, so expect to see some fresh faces. Speaking of young Gunners, here's a complete list. Where are they now?

The clocks have already changed over there so matches today kick off at 3:45pm EDT. The London Derby is on beIN Sport USA. Elsewhere, Manchester United host Norwich, Birmingham welcome Stoke, Leicester City host Fulham, and West Ham are at Burnley.

Scribe Time!

Location: Spain
Headline: Madrid experiment fails to blunt Barca
Scribe: Phil Ball

Location: Brazil
Headline: Extraordinary Diego Costa saga set for finale
Scribe: Tim Vickery

Location: Spain
Headline: Barcelona's clásico win over Madrid leaves more questions than answers
Scribe: Sid Lowe

Location: Germany
Headline: Borussia Dortmund's derby flair marred by flare-up with their fans
Scribe: Raphael Honigstein

Location: Brazil
Headline: Flamengo, Botofogo and the fickle nature of Brazilian football fans
Scribe: Tim Vickery (again!)

Location: Italy
Headline: Roma close on record as Bradley counters charge of squad's lack of depth
Scribe: Paolo Bandini

It's still early days in the Premier League, but it's worth taking a look at the State of Things.

"He's blond, he's slick, his name's a porno flick." Emmanuel Petit talks about his career here.

We mentioned yesterday that the MLS regular season has come to a close. Avi Creditor says the pressure's on Red Bulls, Dempsey as MLS playoffs get underway.

We'll conclude today's dribble with a return to Italia. As you Roma have busted out of the gates. One of the main reasons why is  Mehdi Benatia. Have at it.



SSN Special Report: Alessandro Buonjourno in Milan

SSN's Serie A Expert Alessandro Buonjourno recently departed SSN Headquarters for a brief jaunt to Europe. He took in Inter's match against Hellas Verona on Saturday and filed this report. Next up for Alessandro is Arsenal vs. Liverpool. Stay tuned...     -The Editor

San Siro Sunset

Inter Milan 4 – 2 Hellas Verona
Match Report

Four gol di culo were enough to see Inter reclaim fourth from surprise package Verona on a perfect fall evening at the San Siro Saturday. Whether or not Inter’s sloppy concession after two early goals was due in part to the distracting and awkward choreography of the Curva Nord’s statement against recent FIGC sanctions, Walter Mazzarri’s men were ultimately little troubled by a Verona side unable to respond adequately to Inter’s scrappy assortment of goals poached  exclusively inside the six-yard box.

Things got going early for Inter, albeit with Jonathan likely knowing little about turning in Cambiasso’s redirected corner kick on ten minutes, with Wilson Palacios  following up two minutes later with a more purposeful  cross-goal effort from similar range. The defensive frailties that undid Inter last season returned however when the oncoming Martinho did well to chest down a return pass on the edge of the area and find the space and composure to slot past  Juan Carrizo, (deputizing for the suspended Hamdanovic), sending an already boisterous away crowd into head-rattling rapture. This was in stark contrast to the home support opposite them, who had spent the previous two goals un-and refurling a series of protest banners. Cambiasso added Inter’s third in the 38th minute, stabbing in from close range after Nagatomo’s well-struck shot rebounded of the far post.

The withdrawal of Cambiasso and Palacios in the second half noticeably blunted Inter’s attacking threat, but an own goal bundled across the line from an Alvarez corner sealed things for the home side, putting them up 4-1 in the 61st minute. Verona did manage to pull one back following some classic back-to-goal holdup work from former Azzurri talisman and eternal journeyman (15 clubs and counting) Luca Toni, who passed neatly along the edge of the box in the 71st minute for Romulo to shoot into the bottom corner. Both sides went down to ten men in the 90th minute for afters between Moras and Belfodil, but the scoreline held, sending satisfied home fans back into Milan amidst droning columns of departing mopeds and the distant echo of Verona supporters, still in full song.

-Alessandro Buonjourno

Monday, October 28, 2013

El Clásico, Hart Howler, Howard Heroics, Red Bulls, Michael Bradley's Back, Pato?

Monday Morning. Let's do this. We went into the weekend talking Clásico, so that's how we'll exit the weekend. Barcelona won the thing 2-1, albeit not without controversy. What a surprise. There are Three Thoughts here, along with some nice gifs of the Ronaldo no-call and Sanchez's dirty chip. La Liga expert Guillem Balague takes a detailed look at the match here. And we are honored to present you with Player Ratings. Ten keys to the win for Barcelona? Right.

But who won the Clash of the WAGs?
Over in England, Joe Hart goofed yet again to gift The Special One and his Blues a win over The Blues. The other Blues. Torres continued to improve, Aguero continued to score, and Mourinho continued to try to hog the spotlight, this time by hopping into the stands and kissing some dude. Here's the howler followed by the celebration. Meanwhile, according to John Crace, Tottenham fans had every right to boo another no-show at White Hart Lane, although their side did get all three points in the end. Arsenal stayed top despite playing with 10 men, Sunderland and a strong Yank Abroad Jozy Altidore defeated Newcastle, Yank Abroad Tim Howard saved a penalty and Everton won at Villa, Manchester United came back to win a thriller over Stoke, and Suarez scored three to lead Liverpool. Hit these, yo:

Check out this pretty great little vid from the traveling fans at Villa Park as Yank Abroad Timmy Howard saved Benteke's penalty:

There were some of us here at SSN Headquarters who were concerned about Michael Bradley. Dude got hurt and his absence from the Roma squad coincided with the surge to the top of the table by i Giallorossi. Not to worry! Bradley got a chance yesterday and took it well, netting the winning goal for Roma against Udinese. Here's everything you need to know. And this is good, too. More from Paolo domani.

Goal For Roma. Number 4. Michael Bradley.
This weekend was the final in Major League Soccer's regular season. The New York Red Bulls defeated the Chicago Fire and claimed the Supporters' Shield with the best record. Here's how the weekend went down.

Remember Alex Pato? He was supposed to be Brazil's next big thing. He was not. He's still only 24 but his Milan days seem years away. He had a weekend to forget.

'Til Tuesday.